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Proposal for Licensed Domestic Cannabis Cultivation

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    Proposal for Licensed Domestic Cannabis Cultivation

    OK - this is an article I wrote several months ago for my own amusement, and is unlikely to ever see the light of day anywhere else. Given the anonimity of the site, I can hardly claim copyright (!), but if quoted from, please acknowledge,

    It is only a proposal, but it seems ripe for discussion - would love to see what folks think...this is pertaining to the UK situation, but needn't just be...

    Home Cultivation of Cannabis – Proposals for Licensing

    As the latest u-turn on cannabis legislation (that it might be re-assessed for Class B status after the recent downgrading to Class C) shows, there is little logic currently being applied by the government to the problem, and it appears that the roller-coaster of its legal status (and that of its users) will continue for some time.

    It seems clear therefore, that some fairly radical solutions must be found if we are to advance the situation in an adult fashion, and negotiate a way out of this legal morass that benefits the country as a whole, and not just a few over-eager politicians and newspaper editors.

    The situation is now so unique in many ways that it does actually provide an opportunity for elegant solutions, but ones that require cool, calm analysis and actions, not knee-jerk reactions and sure-to-fail implementations.
    Ironically, the police have largely been the one enlightening voice in the whole public-sector cannabis argument, attempting to preserve the new legislation, (presumably as they have first-hand experience of its effects and arrest ‘issues’ it has raised).

    The situation also requires an acknowledgement that cannabis usage is both permanent and manageable, and that if we are to eliminate the black market in cannabis, we must be prepared to adapt to its peculiarities and accept the economic reality it has generated; and of course, replace it with something the majority agree upon.

    Firstly, certain important facts need to be made about the current black market in cannabis:

    1. The market is huge and expanding, with demand for cannabis always outstripping supply. British criminal gangs now export high-grade herbal cannabis to Amsterdam to meet the huge tourist demand.

    2. Since the 60's, cannabis has been imported, largely from poor equatorial-zone countries. Most of the money has not gone to the farmers who grew the product, but criminal gangs. Cannabis gangs (where they specialise) may not always use the violence associated with harder drugs, but the profits dictate its possibility at least.

    3. 'Gentlemen' smugglers, such as Howard Marks may be rare, but their activities hardly helped the nation's economy. Marks proudly boasts in his autobiography of his playboy lifestyle, spending most of his earnings on fast cars, yachts, champagne and other dilettante persuasions, none of which, in my opinion, helped bolster his image as some kind of Robin Hood-figure. Indeed, he probably removed more money from the British economy than most people see in a lifetime, but the illegality of cannabis can only ensure this system continues.
    Ironically now, most imported cannabis is of much higher quality, proving that competition in this market has improved the product all-round for buyers.

    4. Since the late 80's, cannabis production has gradually shifted from imported to British-produced cannabis, utilising the recent growth and sophistication of horticultural-grade lighting and hydroponics technology. The legitimate hydroponics industry has seen a huge boost in its profitability, as cannabis growers turns small businesses into large ones.
    Giant electronics corporations make the light-bulbs that are used throughout Britain to grow cannabis, and their profit margins in this sector are extensive.
    There are probably hundreds of hydroponics shops in Britain now, ranging from 'high-class' operations, selling to Universities, businesses and schools, as well as the phalanx of cash-only home-growers; to smaller, more 'obvious' shops that purely cater for cannabis growers.

    See the findings from the report by the South Bank University's Criminal Policy Research Unit, and the National Addiction Centre at King's College, London, for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation:

    5. As shown above, the economic benefits to this switch are huge. Firstly, all the money that would have gone to “H. Marks and Co.” (and this is multi-millions a year), now circulates amongst a smaller network of people, generally within the same social group. Often a small grower will only supply friends, meaning the money effectively never leaves that social circle; until it is spent, of course.
    Larger growers and criminal gangs will still rake in relative fortunes as before, but as this money is too 'hot' to be banked, it effectively has to be ‘illegally spent’ (laundered), and quickly. Whilst fast cars and yachts are still likely to be bought, if they are bought in Britain, then there is no net loss to the economy; indeed, the economy receives a boost because of the fast cash turnover, and zero-interest rates typical of black-market operations.

    6. Cannabis growing/selling is clearly benefiting deprived areas, as whole residential sectors of industrial towns begin to acquire that 'skunky' smell; one can walk down many streets now and smell that familiar whiff of fast-growing cannabis somewhere nearby. This money is clearly illegal, yet in the hands of poor people, it rarely stays illegal for long.
    High-interest accounts and investment portfolios are not of interest to council-estate dwellers, and they are far more likely to spend the money as quickly as possible, on cash-friendly purchases. As a nation's economy flourishes, so does its ability to absorb black cash.

    All these pointers lead to one conclusion; if cannabis stays illegal, more and more money will be made until the pretence cannot be sustained. Already cannabis has been downgraded, but its ability to turn a profit has been seriously upgraded. The real issue now is to how to manage this situation in a way that benefits everyone.

    See the findings by the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit:

    Clearly the use of cannabis will continue, and safer administration (such as vapourizers) can reduce much of the harm inherent in smoking, also facilitating its use in areas where it has been shown to have medical benefit, but where actual smoking is impossible. Indeed, this is one of the most important factors; is it wise to ban a natural drug that has increasing medical usage?

    THC will be an important component in many new medicines, following the lead of GW Pharmaceuticals, and it may be that the 'high' component of THC is of as much use as the non-psychoactive components. Given that scenario, it may be wiser to follow the path of managed, licensed use, if we are to remove the black-market in a relatively painless way.

    See report by Jeffrey Miron:

    Licensed Cultivation Proposal

    Given that just about every cannabis user in Britain has to buy their product from a 'dealer' (usually a friend), it is obvious that the law is broken constantly by people who are otherwise law-abiding. If no-one ever gets caught, that is a purely philosophical matter to the people concerned, but the issue of the cash remains.

    Additionally, the position of certain electronics ‘giants’, and many other technology-providers who clearly benefit economically from the illegal market (and they know it - check their stock reports over the last ten years) should be examined. No individual should suffer the problems of illegality whilst shareholders do not.

    Given cannabis has very little inherent value, other than the cost of production, its price is set entirely by its illegality (the risk to the dealer), and its relative rarity, compared to other commercial products, and the effort involved in supply. Most cannabis costs are for labour, rather than product value.

    Ironic then that prosecutions for 'dealing' are set to rise following re-classification; this is entirely tax, rather than drug-related. If a person earns money selling home-grown high-quality cannabis, the profit margin compared to setup cost is huge.

    How can that person then contribute a share of that as income-related tax? It is currently impossible because the grower cannot declare the earnings due to its illegality, and therefore must spend or dispose of the money in whatever way they see fit. It should be remembered that charities and other cash-collecting organisations can be unwitting beneficiaries of these sorts of problems.

    To try and finally tackle this absurd situation is the aim of this proposal; that a responsible, managed approach to the problem can eradicate the black market, boost the finances of the country, AND remove the terrible stigma of 'criminal' from everyone who consumes the drug.

    The law-makers will obviously need to compromise, but an elegant and humanist solution with fewer contradictory concepts must at least be considered if we are going to avoid a legal and economic nightmare in a few years.

    This proposal suggest that government-licensed cultivation is not only possible, it is viable, and removes huge obstacles for everyone, consumers and retailers alike, in their 'embarrassing situation' - i.e. everyone knows the hydroponics industry is built on cannabis, but no-one can admit it.

    1. Licensing could be split into three main categories:

    a) Home Cultivation

    b) Commercial Cultivation

    c) Medical/Scientific Cultivation (the only one currently permitted with limited application).

    Home Cultivation

    The most important from the position of the ordinary user is the first; this would enable a household to cultivate cannabis for their own use, in government-approved environments. These systems need be no more complex than are currently used, except safety and security would become embedded in practice, and responsible ownership and use would be encouraged.

    Basically in real terms you could expect a visit from 'the license man', as is current for TV – he or she would have the right to inspect the grow-room, and make judgements on safety and security, and also check for license breaches. For example, a 'home cultivator' license could, say, only permit ten plants to be grown at any one time, a maximum size/weight imposed, or a maximum area per watt of lighting used.

    Offenders to specifications would receive summary notice to change, and the 'license clippers' could be used to extract excessive plants if they breached the specified number. Growing without a license, or growing huge amounts of cannabis without a Commercial License (see below), would result in similar convictions to the present.

    It is critical to note that the most important component of a 'Home' license is that it would still be illegal to sell any cannabis grown, and with reasonably severe sentences to deter people from doing this.
    In practice, it would hardly be necessary, since more and more people would be growing themselves, but it would be important to maintain strictness in this regard. Deterring now non-criminals from selling their cannabis would be self-regulatory; the 'black' market would collapse from over-supply.

    Security and safety would be critical in a household with children, both with equipment used (high-wattage HID lighting can be lethal), and the product produced. Strong cannabis should obviously not be ever accessible to children, and a visit from an inspector would be mandatory, to assess that the space cannot be accessed at any time by any children. Penalties, bans and jail would obviously be available for repeated infringements of this component.

    The climate in Britain is such that most cannabis would be cultivated under lights, and therefore electricity/water combinations must be involved; it is obvious that safety should be far more important than yield when considering growing cannabis indoors.
    On the plus side, the relative openness instilled would also mean that growers need be far less paranoid about their locations, and need not therefore consider places that are obviously dangerous (under staircases, etc.). Outdoor growers would still have to prove that their crops were unavailable to unauthorised persons.

    Freeing up everyone who uses cannabis to grow cannabis instead of buying it, would reduce court and prison time, generate vast new revenue that currently goes to criminals, stimulate the economy even further by making the purchase of equipment open and accessible, and by generating hundreds of new jobs engaged in manufacture, supply, and expertise.

    Those who are unable to grow for themselves would alternatively be able to buy high-quality cannabis from licensed suppliers (see below).

    License revenues could be put toward drugs rehabilitation schemes and other worthy causes; an example home license could be maybe £400 per year, payable in instalments. With possibly up to 100,000 households deciding to cultivate almost immediately, this example would bring in an additional £40 million to be made available to spend by government, and a vast amount spent in equipment and consumables, such as electricity.

    The money users would normally have spent on black-market cannabis can now be spent on responsible demands instead.

    Commercial Cultivation

    In order to sell cannabis, a commercial license must be sought. Needless to say, the licensing here would be much more stringent, and much more expensive, as required by commercial regulations on foodstuffs, etc.

    Anyone wishing to grow cannabis for retail would have to be able to prove their responsibility; the amount of cannabis that can be grown in a warehouse makes it a very attractive proposition to criminal gangs, and licensing the cultivation on this scale would make it easier to 'weed out' the non-payers.
    Additionally, penalties for cultivation without a commercial license would be draconian; again, the onus is on the producer to prove their good intent by buying a license.

    Responsible grower/producers would be regulated as are food and drinks producers to ensure the product was clean, safe and viable. Standards could be imposed in a way that would make Amsterdam principles chaotic in comparison. Sales could be entirely mail-order, apart from licensed outlets, with similar regulations as for alcohol.

    However, to avoid exploitation by large corporations, limits would be set as to the amount any one company could produce, making it unattractive commercially to the bigger companies. The aim would be 'cool down' the market, rather than producing yet another commercial battle over new product!

    For purchasers, a maximum limit would set, avoiding 'binge' buying by consumers. For retail sales, ID would need to be provided, and for online or mail-order purchasers, credit records would be employed. Obviously there will also be exceptions and rule-breakers, but compared to the current legal mess, such infractions would be trivial by comparison.

    Medical/Scientific Cultivation

    Of all the licenses available, a medical license would be as difficult to obtain as they are now, although obviously there would be 'approval' for companies to apply more regularly. Medical uses are potentially the most beneficial, and government support would be crucial for companies aiming to set up medicinal trials.

    Medical licenses would prevent sale of cannabis totally, being used solely for research and/or drug production.
    Strains would doubtless acquire the usual patenting issues in the drugs industry, with companies trying to produce 'super' strains, but luckily that work has already been done over the last 30 years by illegal cultivators. In fact breeding and cultivation of all plants under lights has benefited from the extensive and focused work on this one plant.
    Many new strains already exist that are recommended for medical use by individuals, and though they are used in the traditional form, i.e. smoked or eaten, it is obvious that these strains would also be preferred for extraction.

    There are currently many thousands of sufferers of various diseases in Britain who self-medicate with cannabis with varying degrees of success. In some cases, a pure extract in medicinal form works best; in others, simply smoking herbal cannabis brings relief.
    In the latter form, patients are forced to resort to the black market, doctors are unable to prescribe, and there are no quality standards enforceable except under conditions of medical license. It stands therefore that government-approved medical supply houses would be able to maintain their own crops of cannabis for retail in herbal form, under prescription.

    In controlled conditions, the potency and efficacy of cannabis can actually be accurately predicted, and the high-CBD strains proven to work for pain-relief can be grown quickly and accurately.
    Again, the medical establishment will need to adapt quickly and adopt a more accommodating attitude to herbal treatments and self-medication; whilst the less stringent form of measurement inherent in herbal cannabis may cause alarm, in reality a ‘therapeutic’ dose would already be relatively low on the psychoactive scale.

    Many mature sufferers of advanced degenerative diseases have no interest in getting high; simply preventing pain or easing mobility is joy enough. Counselling and ongoing assessment can be used to evaluate patient response to cannabis treatment, and in event of adverse reaction, treatment can be gradually brought to a close, as with any other potentially psychoactive medicine.
    Last edited by Elevator Man; 02-09-2010, 01:37. Reason: typo
    My Current Grow - Indoor
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    Proposal for Licensed Domestic Cannabis Cultivation

    Interesting write up.
    "Smoke Good, Eat Good, Live Good"

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      Way cool man..

      A very interesting read..

      If only they'd listen..


        keep yer mutha outta my yard an i'll keep my yard outta ya mutha!


          Good article! I agree with most of what you say - at least in principle.

          I disagree on one point, though. 400 of our quids for a licence?!?!? That's more than a licence to drive a kiddie-crushing 4x4 SUV.

          What if it was similar to, say, a fishing rod licence? That's a much less painfull £25.

          Otherwise, well thought out and researched. I hope the message gets across.



            .35 cents a day isn't that hard to come up with, 400 hundred dollars a year isn't bad.

            shit i'd gladly pay 1000 a year if i knew it would save me from getting busted and sent to prison for most of my life.

            see the thing is is tryin to make the government see it can make money and lots of it, so it looks more inticing to them. if the gov. aint makin no money it will allways stay illegal,,,,imho!!!!!

            stay safe, theres a war out there and it's against we the people,,,,,,,,,,,,dwtc

            p.s. very cool read
            Last edited by dwtc; 02-28-2007, 01:26.

            it's not a war against drugs, it's a war against personal freedom, keep that in mind at all times.

            my #1 dream is to stand on the moon face the world and say fuck you!!!!!!!!!!

            welcome to the united snakes, land of the thief, home of the slave, grand emperial guard where the dollar is sacered and power is god.

            "DISCLAIMER" everything i say and do on this sight is purely fictional, i just feel the need to fit in somewhere.


              That is a good read, especially considering it was for your own shits n giggles. It could also be easily adapted to U.S.



                Daggazee - well, I do a lot of fishing, so yeah, £25 is a super-bargain, considering what it buys you...

                But the idea was that it would at least go some way to mitigating the immense profits (or savings) that a home-grower might make against the illegal market. As in, a compromise situation where everyone takes a hit for the greater good - I'm still kind of a socialist at heart...

                And it wouldn't have to be in one chunk - you could pay monthly by direct debit...

                Pyrex - I wrote it partially as 'encouragement' to a couple of drugs advisory boards/agencies - to let them know that there was more than one way of looking at this issue, and that legislation needn't mean 'coporate involvement' necesarily, just the removal of unjust penalties (and criminal records), and replacing them with consensual 'taxes' - as long as the proceeds are wisely (and publicly) accounted for...
                My Current Grow - Indoor
                My Current Grow - Harvest Photos
                My Outdoor Grow 2009
                'Goldfinger' - Malawi Gold X Flo - Test Grow
                Thai Stick Test Grow
                Flo Breeding Question
                'Kentish Creme' - Jamaican Strain Identification
                'JLo' - Kentish Creme X Flo breeding project
                Proposal for Licensed Domestic Cannabis Cultivation


                  There was an idea floating about in the Netherlands a few years ago that proposed a lamp licence. You would pay more for more/bigger lamps. If the fee was £1 per watt, for instance, then I would only have to pay £250 for my HPS cupboard. Someone who does microgrows with an Envirolite would only have to pay £125, and so on.

                  Of course, people who brew their own beer don't need a licence at all - as long as they don't sell it. The Inland Revenue don't make a bean from home-brewers. I still don't understand exactly how and why that came to pass - not that I would change it, you understand.

                  Whilst the angel floating above my right shoulder says "compromise with the government and pay them some taxes to grow", the devil on my left says "f*ck the government - it's only a plant and I'll grow as much as I like".



                    good, thoughtful proposal. i agree the price shouldn't be so prohibitively high, but a quick crunching of the numbers of growers x 400 quid might be enough to persuade some reticent politicos that this could be a real cash flow.
                    "I am strongly in favor of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes." -Winston Churchill


                      The elephant in the room of course, on all this, is the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which does not allow member states to set independent policies and legislation without group approval - effectively closing any new policy. David Blunkett (then Home Secretary) and the British Government got a severe rap from this organisation for declassifying cannabis to Class 'C' - and the government, to their rare credit, told them where to stick it (diplomatically, of course).

                      The UN is actually the biggest obstacle to legislation, as they're still putting out nonsense reports on cannabis that are entirely derived from seizures, not actual ground-work, and their spokesman insists that cannabis is as harmful as heroin, and that it can cause mental illness in young people (seriously upgrading from may cause mental illness in some young people:


                      The UNODC Executive Director warned that cannabis was now considerably more potent than a few decades ago and said it was a mistake to dismiss it as a "soft" and relatively harmless drug. Evidence that cannabis use can cause serious mental illness is mounting.

                      "Today, the harmful characteristics of cannabis are no longer that different from those of other plant-based drugs such as cocaine and heroin," Mr Costa said.

                      "National policies on cannabis vary and sometimes change from one year to the next," he added.

                      "With cannabis-related health damage increasing, it is fundamentally wrong for countries to make cannabis control dependent on which party is in government. Policy reversals leave young people confused as to just how dangerous cannabis is. The cannabis pandemic, like other challenges to public health, requires consensus, a consistent commitment across the political spectrum and by society at large."
                      My Current Grow - Indoor
                      My Current Grow - Harvest Photos
                      My Outdoor Grow 2009
                      'Goldfinger' - Malawi Gold X Flo - Test Grow
                      Thai Stick Test Grow
                      Flo Breeding Question
                      'Kentish Creme' - Jamaican Strain Identification
                      'JLo' - Kentish Creme X Flo breeding project
                      Proposal for Licensed Domestic Cannabis Cultivation


                        Originally posted by Elevator Man
                        The elephant in the room of course, on all this, is the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which does not allow member states to set independent policies and legislation without group approval - effectively closing any new policy. David Blunkett (then Home Secretary) and the British Government got a severe rap from this organisation for declassifying cannabis to Class 'C' - and the government, to their rare credit, told them where to stick it (diplomatically, of course).

                        but - crucially - the UN Single Convention is not binding

                        countries are able to leave of their own volition

                        I will dig up the info on the precise legal status of the Convention, but what I can say with confidence is that it is not, as commonly thought, a hinderance to any nation which has the political will to go for legalisation (and, I should add, reap the vast economic rewards)

                        as said - the only obstacle to legalisation is a lack of political will

                        when goverments finally realise the gains in terms of tax revenue, budget sheets and global stability, they will eventually come round

                        prohibition is a huge drain on the public purse - and, along with economic inequality - underpins crime, militias and civil warfare around the world
                        Last edited by ngakpa; 02-28-2007, 20:07.


                          although it would be nice, licensing on a plant that you could chuck a few seedsin the garden and watch grow lol.

                          £200 license a year, upto 650watt per household, unlimited space\plants. or 10 plants outside


                            i guess max indoors you could get 1.3 kilo lol if your the best grower in the world with the perfect setup and fertilisers and boosters lol